Campbell Burnes

Campbell Burnes has written on rugby since 2000 for a wide variety of publications, both in print and online, whilst also contributing to television and radio shows. His major gigs have seen him at Rugby News magazine (2005-12), in which he covered 50 Test matches, and the New Zealand Herald (2014-17). Burnes is one of the few in rugby media to have played international rugby, having appeared for Manu Samoa in 1995 and 2000 (seven games) as a No 10.

Read more exclusive columns

WRAP: Plenty of surprises in June internationals

Getty Images

Campbell Burnes     18 Jun 2018     Getty Images

Having secured a runners-up finish in the Six Nations, Wales has enjoyed an unbeaten tour of the Americas, edging South Africa in the USA and completing a 2-0 series sweep of Los Pumas in Argentina. Warren Gatland’s men are now up to No 3 in the rankings.


In Santa Fe, Wales, despite the absence of New Zealander Hadleigh Parkes with a broken finger, and several other front-liners, was again too good for the home team, running out 30-12 victors. A solo try to wing Josh Adams and some sweet hands to put over fullback Hallam Amos were the obvious highlights, though No 8 Ross Moriarty was red carded for a late moment of anger when he grabbed Nicolas Sanchez around the neck.

The Pumas, many of whom were recently in such strong form for the Jaguares in Investec Super Rugby, were off the pace, and coach Daniel Hourcade has now resigned, effective after next weekend’s Test against Scotland, saying the players are no longer responding.
There was jubilation for Germany, ranked No 29, after defeating Portugal 16-13 in its RWC qualifier. The Germans have never been to Rugby World Cup, but are a step closer, and now head to Apia on June 30 and then back home on July 14 for the return match against Samoa. Germany governed Samoa for a short period in the early 20th century, so whether that adds any extra spice remains to be seen.

Manu Samoa is coming off a nine match losing streak, having fallen 28-18 to Polynesian rivals Tonga in Suva to round out the Pacific Nations Cup. The wait for Samoa’s 100th Test win continues, but they will be favourites to bring up that milestone on June 30.

The Flying Fijians beat Georgia 37-15 to rack up their fourth straight Pacific Nations Cup title, debutant Semi Radradra effective for Fiji.

World No 15 USA won a major scalp, beating No 6-ranked Scotland 30-29 in Houston. It was the Eagles’ sixth consecutive victory and first over a tier one nation.
The Australia-Ireland series is still alive after the tourists turned the tables in Melbourne, executing a 26-21 win in which prop Tadgh Furlong and halfback Conor Murray were to the fore. Ireland, with a starting XV containing more starch and experience, was far more clinical, and dominated possession and territory.

Loosehead prop Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira toasted his 100th Test outing with a 23-12 win for South Africa over England in Bloemfontein. That result ensures the Springboks leapfrog England in the world rankings, with the visitors suffering their sixth straight loss. Hurricanes captain Brad Shields started on the blindside flank for England. Swift opening scores to Mike Brown and Jonny May proved another false dawn, as the home side gradually took control in a comeback sparked by a fine solo try to No 8 Duane Vermeulen. Ill-discipline and niggle punctuated the contest.

Seven more key internationals highlight this weekend to round out the June window. Most eyes will be on the Wallabies-Ireland series decider in Sydney.

Ireland 26 Australia 21 (Melbourne)
South Africa 23 England 12 (Bloemfontein)
Wales 30 Argentina 12 (Santa Fe)
Germany 16 Portugal 13 (Heidelberg)
Namibia 55 Uganda 6 (Windhoek)
Zimbabwe 23 Morocco 23 (Harare)
Fiji 37 Georgia 15 (Suva)
Tonga 28 Samoa 18 (Suva)
Italy 25 Japan 22 (Kobe)
USA 30 Scotland 29 (Houston)
Russia 43 Canada 20 (Winnipeg)